A US aircraft carrier has arrived in Oslo, with the Norwegian armed forces saying it gives them “a unique opportunity to further develop cooperation and work more closely with our most important ally, the United States”.
The nuclear-powered USS Gerald R Ford entered the Oslo fjord escorted by a rapid dinghy-type boat with armed people on board.
The Norwegian armed forces has said any boats must stay half a mile away from the aircraft carrier and a no-fly zone was created over the area.
Described as the largest aircraft carrier in the world, the vessel’s first foreign call was broadcast live on Norwegian television.
Onlookers were seen on land watching as the large carrier glided deeper into the fjord and eventually reached the city of Oslo.
Laila Wilhelmsen, who stood along the route in Droebak, said that she grew up in the small town about halfway through the fjord during the Cold War in the 1950s and “there were warships here all the time”.
“I don’t know, but now we have teased (Russian president Vladimir) Putin even more. It’s scary, I think,” she told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The vessel will stay in the Norwegian capital until Tuesday. After that, it will take part in drills with the Norwegian armed forces.
The Russian Embassy in Oslo said that “such demonstrations of power look illogical and harmful”.
Ties between Oslo and Moscow have been tense since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Norway and Russia have a 123-mile border in the Arctic.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration said two of its pilots were on board to help navigate along the 62-mile fjord, and that the depth of the 76m-high vessel was “the big challenge”.
“The aircraft carrier stays marginally within the maximum depth in the sailing regulations for the Oslo fjord,” the administration said.
Later on Wednesday, the aircraft carrier anchored off the island of Ormoeya in the inner part of Oslofjord, the Norwegian news agency NTB said.
In early May, the US Navy said that the ship had departed from Norfolk, Virginia, on its “first combat deployment” following a shorter two-month deployment in the autumn of 2022.
The USS Ford is the first of the US Navy’s new Ford class of aircraft carriers. Two more Ford-class carriers are under construction.
The vessel houses about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers.